On August 28, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed A-2648, which adds a new nonretaliation pay equity provision to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). The amendment to the LAD prohibits retaliation against any employee who requests from a current or former co-worker information regarding compensation, benefits or occupational category or the gender, race, ethnicity, military status or national origin of any employee or former employee, if the purpose of the request is to assist in investigating or taking legal action regarding a potential discriminatory pay practice occurring in the workplace.
The amendment clarifies that an employer is not required to release protected information in response to an employee’s request, but only prohibits reprisals against any employee who makes such a request. The amendment takes effect immediately.
NJ employers should be cautious when they learn of requests for or discussions regarding employee compensation and benefits. Note that the federal National Labor Relations Board also considers a policy or practice that prevents or discourages employees from discussing the terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, to be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.